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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
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A Modest Proposal: President Obama, While in Cuba, Check in on Julio Antonio Mella

March 17, 2016
A Modest Proposal: President Obama, While in Cuba, Check in on Julio Antonio Mella

by W. T. Whitney

Mr. President, please think about this: pay your respects to Julio Antonio Mella. Your doing so would be a courtesy to President Raul Castro, your host. Julio Antonio was a founder of the Cuban Communist Party and at the time was a mere student. In Cuba, he is a hero. And his birthday, March 25, coincides with your visit, almost.

I am assuming you and your advisors want to know all you can about the political orientation of leaders in places you visit. Julio Antonio contributed greatly to the outlook of Cuba’s leaders now, so let me explain.

Mella’s political activity in the 1920s became a reference point for rebellion in Cuba well into the 1930s. He is the symbolic link between revolutionaries led by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and José Martí in the 19th century and those who’ve guided Cuba since January 1, 1959. Mella adapted the teachings of José Martí to the 20th century and beyond. He emphasized the revolutionary potential of working people and those who’ve been left out.

Mella thus shows us that the course of revolution in Cuba has been long. Many of our compatriots mistakenly think that the Cuban revolution only began about the time your host was a young man.



Julio Antonio Mella

Dictator Gerardo Machado

Presidente de Cuba Gerardo Machado y Morales en union del
Sr Frank B. Kellogg, Secretario de Estado de los Estados Unidos en 1925.

Machado, walking with US President Calvin Coolidge,
& the missus, last United States President to visit Cuba.[/center]
Good Reads:

‘Prime Minister’ Lula: The Brazilian Game-Changer

March 17, 2016
‘Prime Minister’ Lula: The Brazilian Game-Changer

by Pepe Escobar

Compared to the political/economic rollercoaster in Brazil, House of Cards is kindergarten play.

Only three days after massive street demonstrations calling for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, and less than two weeks after his legally dubious four-hour detention for questioning, former Brazilian President Lula is about to spectacularly re-enter the Brazilian government as a Minister, actually a Super-Minister.

This is Rousseff’s one and only chess move left amidst an unprecedented political/economic crisis. Predictably, she will be accused on all fronts – from comprador elites to Wall Street – of having abdicated in favor of Lula, while Lula will be accused of hiding from the two-year-old Car Wash corruption investigation.

Lula and his protégé Dilma had two make-or-break, face-to-face meetings in Brasilia, Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, discussing the detailed terms of his re-entry. At first, Lula would only accept a post in government if he becomes Government Secretary – in charge of political articulation; he would then be part of the hardcore hub that really decides Brazilian policy.

But then, according to a government minister, who requested anonymity, surged the suggestion of Lula as Chief of Staff – the most important ministry post in Brazil.

What’s certain is that Lula is bound to become a sort of ‘Prime Minister’ – implying carte blanche to drastically change Dilma’s wobbly economic policy and forcefully reconnect with the Workers’ Party’s large social base, which is mired in deep distress under massive cuts in social spending. If Lula pulls it off – and that’s a major “if” – he will also be perfectly positioned as a presidential candidate for the 2018 Brazilian elections, to the despair of the right-wing media-old elite-economic complex.


The Promotion of US Law in Cuba: Some Issues to Consider During the US Presidential Visit

The Promotion of US Law in Cuba: Some Issues to Consider During the US Presidential Visit
March 15, 2016
Nelson Valdes

As we know well, the government of the United States wishes that the Cubans who live on the island have the same rights as the citizens of the United States. Therefore, it is desirable and necessary to know some of American laws that could be applied in Cuba. Perhaps it would be interesting and educational if the North American delegation that accompanies the President of the United States answers three basic questions that foreign and national journalists could investigate further. The three questions are related. The following queries are respectfully presented:


Since the United States Government wishes to promote a civil society in Cuba and democratic rights: Is the United States government ready to explain to the Cuban people the workings of some United States legislation? For example:

The US Code 18 U.S.C.A. § 953 [1948] – better known as the Logan Act reads in part, “Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”

Note: In this particular case all that would be necessary is for the Cuban government to replace the phrase “United States” and include “Republic of Cuba.”


The United States Government also has in the law books another piece of legislation that might be very pertinent. That is, the Internal Security Act of 1950. One could suppose that the government of Cuba could emulate the US legislation and apply it to those persons who – according to US law –could be considered “agents of a foreign power”? Should Cubans who receive financial resources from the US government and its agencies be required – as in the US – to register as an “agent of a foreign power”? We understand these same issues are addressed in: U.S. Statutes at Large, 81st Cong., II Sess., Chp. 1024, p. 987-1031


Argentina and the Vultures: the Political Economy of the Settlement

March 16, 2016
Argentina and the Vultures: the Political Economy of the Settlement
by Mark Weisbrot

After 15 years of court battles, injunctions, smear campaigns, lobbying, and other interventions, the vulture funds have finally won a tentative agreement with the new Argentine government. Vulture funds — the name preceded this particular dispute — are so called because they buy up defaulted debt for a very small fraction of its face value, then sue (and use other tactics) to collect an exorbitant return. In the case of Argentina, the chief vulture, American billionaire and major Republican campaign donor Paul Singer, will get an estimated 370 percent return; another vulture fund in the settlement did even better, with a return of 950 percent.

The agreement is tentative because President Mauricio Macri of Argentina still has to get the nation’s Congress, in which he does not have a majority, to change some laws in order to finalize the deal. And he will also have to reach agreement with some remaining “holdout” creditors. And now the vulture funds are appealing the judge’s order that would allowed Argentina to issue new debt, presumably in an effort to extract even more concessions. But assuming it all works out, though, there are some important lessons to be learned from this long war over sovereign debt.

Argentina arguably had no alternative but to default in 2002, but the government also did the right thing by standing up to the IMF and its international creditors until it reached a deal (in 2003 and 2005) that would allow the economy to recover. International lenders — in this case a creditors’ cartel headed by the IMF — often succeed in getting a settlement that keeps thefailedweisbrot country trapped in recession, depression, or very low growth with an unsustainable debt burden; as well as numerous conditions (cuts to social spending, public pensions, public employment) that harm the majority of the debtor country’s citizens. Some of the worst recent examples of these abuses can be seen in countries like Greece and Jamaica, and will likely include Puerto Rico if there is a debt restructuring there.

By taking a hard line with its foreign creditors, Argentina reached an agreement with 93 percent of them that allowed the country to do very well over the ensuing 14 years. Instead of a prolonged depression as in Greece, or limping along from one crisis to the next, Argentina began an extraordinarily robust recovery just three months after its default and enjoyed very high growth — more than 90 percent in real GDP from 2002–2015. (There is some dispute over the exact number but it does not change the story.) This enabled Argentina to reduce poverty by about 70 percent and extreme poverty by 80 percent, in the decade 2003–2013.


CIA Motto: “Proudly Overthrowing the Cuban Government Since 1959.”

March 15, 2016
CIA Motto: “Proudly Overthrowing the Cuban Government Since 1959.”

by William Blum

Now what? Did you think that the United States had finally grown up and come to the realization that they could in fact share the same hemisphere as the people of Cuba, accepting Cuban society as unquestioningly as they do that of Canada? The Washington Post (February 18) reported: “In recent weeks, administration officials have made it clear Obama would travel to Cuba only if its government made additional concessions in the areas of human rights, Internet access and market liberalization.”

Imagine if Cuba insisted that the United States make “concessions in the area of human rights”; this could mean the United States pledging to not repeat anything like the following:

Invading Cuba in 1961 at the Bay of Pigs.

Invading Grenada in 1983 and killing 84 Cubans, mainly construction workers.

Blowing up a passenger plane full of Cubans in 1976. (In 1983, the city of Miami held a day in honor of Orlando Bosch, one of the two masterminds behind this awful act; the other perpetrator, Luis Posada, was given lifetime protection in the same city.)

Giving Cuban exiles, for their use, the virus which causes African swine fever, forcing the Cuban government to slaughter 500,000 pigs.


Rubio's Top Finance Guy is the "Vulture" Who Soaked Argentina for $4.65 Billion

Rubio's Top Finance Guy is the "Vulture" Who Soaked Argentina for $4.65 Billion

Meet Paul Singer.

By Joseph B. Atkins / Labor South
March 15, 2016

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio has tapped as his national finance chairman the “Vulture” who put the squeeze on Argentina for a $4.65 billion payback on his $50 million investment, according to investigative journalist Greg Palast, The Guardian, and other press reports.

Hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, known as “The Vulture”, is set to become Rubio’s top money guy in a campaign that may reach its demise soon if the Florida senator can’t win the primary in his native state.

Singer, long a huge supporter of Rubio’s campaign, has been criticized around the world for his aggressive wheeling and dealing, both on Wall Street and in political circles, including his financial backing of neo-liberal Mauricio Macri’s rise to the presidency in Argentina.

Macri came into office vowing to respond to Argentina’s indebtedness to international lenders, which has led to major financial crises in the South American country. According to reports, Singer was able to score a $4.65 billion payment from Argentina out of a $50 million investment in old Argentine bonds.


Judge Declines to Reopen Case Against Ex-President Kirchner of Argentina

Judge Declines to Reopen Case Against Ex-President Kirchner of Argentina

MARCH 11, 2016

BUENOS AIRES — A federal judge on Thursday refused to reopen a criminal complaint against former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner first brought by a prosecutor who died in mysterious circumstances last year, according to Télam, the state news agency.

Prosecutors thought they had new documents that warranted trying to revive the case against Mrs. Kirchner and her political supporters. The prosecutor who later died, Alberto Nisman, had accused Mrs. Kirchner and others of conspiring to derail his investigation into the 1994 fatal bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires. The complaint dissolved in Argentina’s courts.

Judge Daniel Rafecas said Thursday that the new documents presented were not sufficient to reverse his decision last year to dismiss the complaint, reiterating his determination that there was no evidence of a crime. The ruling can be appealed by Gerardo Pollicita, the prosecutor who sought to revive the case.

Mr. Nisman died of a gunshot to the head days after filing the original criminal complaint, but it has not been established whether it was a suicide or murder.


(Short article, no more at link.)

Nephew of murdered Honduran activist Cáceres: 'The atmosphere is terrifying'

Nephew of murdered Honduran activist Cáceres: 'The atmosphere is terrifying'

Silvio Carrillo grew up alongside Berta Cáceres, a leading campaigner for human rights. After the deaths of hundreds of campaigners in Honduras in the span of a few years, he believes his aunt was targeted for her efforts

David Smith in Washington
Wednesday 9 March 2016 06.30 EST

Silvio Carrillo holds a creased black and white photo of a three-year-old girl, frowning at the camera and clutching a doll, and fights back the tears. The girl grew up to be his aunt, Berta Cáceres, a fearless human rights activist and heroine to indigenous people in Honduras. Last week, she was shot dead in her home, a day shy of her 45th birthday.

Cáceres had long complained of death threats from police, the army and landowners’ groups over her opposition to one of Central America’s biggest hydropower projects. She won the 2015 Goldman environmental prize, regarded as the world’s top award for grassroots environmental activism.

Carrillo, 43, told the Guardian he believed she had been targeted for her work. “She pissed a lot of people off … She was a major threat to the establishment.

“She was a moral leader. She was put on this grand stage and that multiplied when she won the Goldman prize. If you heard her speak, she was powerful. She was near becoming impossible to take down,” he said.

Cáceres earned admiration – and enemies – leading a decade-long fight against a project to build a dam along the Gualcarque river, which is sacred to the Lenca people and could flood large areas of ancestral lands and cut off water supplies to hundreds. A week before her death, she had spoken out against the murder of four indigenous leaders in the Lenca community.


That giant rabbit has found a home and he’s even got his own pram

That giant rabbit has found a home and he’s even got his own pram

Nicole Morley
Nicole Morley for Metro.co.ukTuesday 8 Mar 2016 7:36 pm

A giant rabbit has finally found a loving home.

Atlas the continental giant rabbit – who’s roughly the same size as a dog – was taken in by the Scottish SPCA when his former owner could no longer look after him.

But now Atlas has been given a new home with Jen Hislop in North Ayrshire.

Jen, 43, a financial fraud investigator, was selected from hundreds of applicants to rehome eight-month-old Atlas.

She said: ‘I burst into tears when I got the phone call saying I had been chosen to rehome Atlas and I cried again when I collected him.

. . .


[center]~ ~ ~[/center]
Atlas the giant rabbit finds new home in Scotland

15:47, 8 Mar 2016
By Scotland Now

THE big bunny received hundreds of adoption offers from animal lovers across the world - including model Katie Price - but he has found a new home in Ayrshire.

ATLAS the giant Scots rabbit has found a new home in Ayrshire.

The Continental Giant, which is the same size as a West Highland Terrier, became a global sensation after the Scottish SPCA launched an appeal to find him a new family.

Atlas arrived at the charity's rehoming centre in Glasgow last month and were overwhelmed with hundred of offers from animal lovers all over the world to take him in - including glamour model Katie Price.

But the SSPCA were keen to keep the rabbit on Scottish soil and chose a family based in North Ayrshire instead.


Reverse Robin Hood: Six Billion Dollar Businesses Preying on Poor People

March 8, 2016
Reverse Robin Hood: Six Billion Dollar Businesses Preying on Poor People

by Bill Quigley

Many see families in poverty and seek to help. Others see families in poverty and see opportunities for profit.

Here are six examples of billion dollar industries which are built on separating poor people, especially people of color, from their money, the reverse Robin Hood.

Check Cashing Businesses

Check cashing businesses. Cash a $100 check? At Walmart that will be $3. At TD bank non-customers pay $5 to cash a check from their bank.

Nearly 10 million households containing 25 million people do not have any bank account according to the FDIC. Most because they did not have enough money to keep a minimum balance in their account.

Check cashing business are part of a $100 billion industry of more than 6,500 check cashing businesses in the US, many which also provide money orders, utility bill payments and the like, according to testimony provided to Congress by the industry.

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